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Given Google's shift towards a stronger focus on page markup data, how do the data formats used in Schema.org work alongside those for Microformats? How do these (and other specs) compliment each other and which should be used in preference in different situations?

Edit:

It seems from established content on the subject that opinion seems to be divided between those who believe Schema.org is doom, hellfire and brimstone and those who think it will ultimately be a good thing either way regardless of uptake.

Both articles agree at least that the different formats can coexist happily without causing search engines undue grief. The question about how the different options might be used in specific cases still remains though.

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+1 The territory is still a little vague (or is it just to me?). Hoping for a great answer to this. –  Yannis Rizos Dec 23 '11 at 0:12
    
+1 for posterity's sake. I pray people will read both articles and examine each side carefully. –  Levi Morrison Jan 27 '12 at 2:51
    
@Phil.Wheeler: It's been a few weeks since I posted my answer, and noticed both when I posted it and just now that it appears likely you've seen my answer. Is there a issue with it? Thanks! –  blunders Feb 13 '12 at 22:50
    
:-) No, no issue. I was waiting to see if any other answers were added but it would appear there won't be. Besides, yours is a very good answer so now marked as accepted. –  Phil.Wheeler Feb 14 '12 at 2:37

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Metadata and the related format types in the end come down to the net return provided (return=value-cost) and the uptake in their popularity, which follows the same technology adoption life cycle of any new approach.

The cost of Google supporting a format is low, so I would not read anything into that. Both formats have been around a long-time, and to my knowledge trace back to the concept of the Semantic Web; which is to say the idea and formats have been around forever in internet time, so is nothing new. That said, the clearly over-hyped article you link to titled, "Google Will Change Web Marketing in 2012", which makes me laugh just hearing the title, isn't completely off in that Google over the years has been pulling more and more metadata into it's search results, and often them doing so creates opportunities in marketing; best example to my knowledge being local search results, which provided Google, users, and businesses real value.

As for conflicts between the two formats, it's unlikely, just be consistent about the data presented across the board, and about when that data is updated; this based on how Google handles other duplicate content/metadata in varying formats, for example HTML-vs-sitemap.xml link/content/metadata.

(If for some reason I've missed a key-point in your question, just let me know and I'll attempt to address it.)

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